The production and use of some types of plastic bags is prohibited in Kosovo

The administrative directive to ban the use of plastic bags, which came into effect on September 29 of this year, aims to promote recycling and improve environmental sustainability in the country.

The administrative directive to ban the use of plastic bags, which came into effect on September 29 of this year, aims to promote recycling and improve environmental sustainability in the country.

This is what the Minister of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure, Liburn Aliu, has said, who emphasizes that this instruction will ban the production of plastic bags and their import, whereas lightweight bags used for vegetables will not be banned, but the weight of the bags and their design will be different as it has been.

In the discussion held today (Wednesday) with representatives from the European Union and the German Government, it was said that the Administrative Directive provides that plastic bags weighing between 25 and 50 microns will have payment fees, but will not have business logos.

Aliu: The administrative instruction will stop the production of plastic bags and their import

“During the drafting of this administrative instruction, we had continuous discussions and we were part of the process, and now this instruction is in force, which means that now the bags that are prohibited by this instruction should no longer be produced. According to the administrative instruction, we have stopped production and the import and sale in the market of light-weight plastic carrying bags, thickness from 0 to 25 microns, whether with logo or without logo, the bags in which things are carried are prohibited. The production, import and sale on the market of degradable plastic bags is prohibited, while bags of very light weight are placed on the market without a fee and without payment for the consumer, it is about bags for vegetables, those bags which are for fruits and vegetables. While light-weight plastic carrier bags with handles of 25 to 50 microns will be on the market at a price of 5 cents, of which two cents go to the Budget of Kosovo, which means bags that can be used several times, the same bag. And these bags will also have logos, which we could not stop, not because we didn’t want to, because it contradicts the consumer’s rights”, said Aliu.

Minister Aliu added that according to the rules of the Administrative Instruction, plastic bags will cost from 5 cents, which can also be reused.

Aliu: Plastic bags will be charged 5 cents, which can be used several times

“In accordance with paragraph five and six of the Administrative Instruction, it is forbidden to place the logo, commercial bank, slogan, name of the manufacturer or seller on plastic bags carrying lightweight gloves of 25 to 50 microns. On light weight plastic carrier bags with handles of 25 to 50 microns the logo can be placed, the packaging number mark is placed for recycling, the barcode and the thickness level on one side as well as the year of manufacture, these bags which will be paid for 5 cents will have recycling information”, said Aliu.

Johannes Steanbeak Madsen from the European Union office in Kosovo, said that the main goal of the Administrative Instruction is to reduce the use of plastic bags. In this way, he said, the responsibility of citizens and private businesses will also increase.

Madsen: The main goal is to reduce plastic bags, for citizens and private businesses

“The objective is for a rich environment and for the least use of plastic bags and as soon as possible for degrading materials and companies, one of the main issues of the EU is the recycling of plastic bags because the government is committed and especially the ministry to increase the responsibility of citizens to take more responsibility for their impact on the environment of these products, the production and responsibility of producers to improve the environment and improve life in general. The responsibility is very big and there are also costs for the businesses that produce and use the plastic bags. And we think that a solution will be found in Kosovo on how to recycle plastic bags and reuse them”, said Madsen.

During the presentation of the Administrative Instruction, MESPI officials indicated that the instruction came into force on September 29. They have also stated that they have received comments from manufacturers, sellers and importers of bags.

MESPI: On September 29, the instruction entered into force.

“The administrative directive is about promoting recycling, reducing the environmental impact and improving the sustainability of the environment in terms of packaging waste, this initiative has been a collaborative effort with contributions and different actors, including private sectors, the European Union as well as German GIZ. We have ensured transparency and all involvement in rounds and numerous consultations, as well as public access to the draft administrative instruction, which has already entered into force on the 29th of last month. We actively engaged with manufacturers, sellers and importers and public institutions throughout the process, the comments were very important for an administrative guideline,” says the MESPI official.

Kosovo has been the only country in the Western Balkans in which single-use plastic bags have been offered for free to consumers.